Adventure 9: The Tanzania Ocean Race

Think the Volvo Ocean Race crews had tough conditions? Think again, these guys are racing 300 miles along the coast of Tanzania in homemade boats.

The Race:

The open seas are the last frontier of adventuring on our good planet. Unhindered by health and safety they present limitless opportunity for getting utterly and overwhelmingly lost.

For our first foray into the seas we’ve chosen the temperate waters of the Zanzibar Archipelago, off the coast of Tanzania.


We’re not in the habit of running a gin cruise so this is a race. After all the best way of proving your superiority over your peers is by thrashing the wind powered pants off them.

This is a 500 km staged race; driven by the Kusi and Kaskazi trade winds. The January edition begins with training on Pemba Island and races from Nungwi on Zanzibar to the finish line on Kilwa Kisiwani Island. Kilwa hosts the July training with the start gun on Kilwa Kivinje. The July finish line is Emerald Bay, Pemba Island.

On each stage of the race you’ll be navigating your own way through a string of tiny islands and a few checkpoints, staying each night on which ever island you reach, trying to find your way to the finish line and perhaps a victory.


The race will run in January of 2016, with another edition planned for July as well. Each session requires a training session beforehand.


  • 29th – 31st Dec: Pre race training
  • 1st – 9th January: The race
  • 9th January: Prize ceremony & party


  • 4th – 6th July: Pre race training
  • 7th -16th July: The race
  • 16th July: Prize ceremony & Party

The Boats:

Known as an Ngalawa these titans of adventure are the vehicle of choice for any self respecting fisherman on the coast of Zanzibar & Tanzania.

The hull is dug by hand from a mango tree and the outriggers are stuck on with string.


They take on water quickly, there’s virtually no room for supplies and you’re fully exposed to the elements.

Find out more here.